Build your own Heliostat in India (wip…)

This started as a project in winter to get sunlight into the house, however, it proved a far more challenging task for my non-existent mechanical engineering and fabrications skills. It was therefore well into summer before the project was in a shape wherein it could be documented with some reasonable confidence.

Am writing this blog especially keeping like minded enthusiasts in India in mind, where it is quite difficult (if not impossible) for DIY enthusiasts to get their hands on parts, especially mechanical parts needed for a project like this. I will therefore give a detailed write-up of the struggle and eventual resolution (juggad) which went into making this project a reality.

Let me start by breaking the project into individual sections and then deal with each independently.

  1. Theory
    • Sun movement -  altitude and azimuth
    • Heliostats – how they work
    • Heliostat mounts
  2. Mechanical components
    • Mirror assembly
    • Vertical mount
    • Horizontal mount
  3. Electro-mechanical components
    • Vertical linear actuator
    • Horizontal linear actuator
    • Vertical / Horizontal limit sensor
  4. Electronics
    • Circuit
    • Fabrication
  5. Control program
    • Relevant Trigonometry
    • Final formulas
    • Arduino Code
  6. Assembly
  7. Verification and correction

 

Before we get into details of the project / construction itself, i will list down the material, tools, equipment and skills needed to execute this project. As you will see this is neither trivial not cheap especially if you don’t already have a lot of equipment already with you. So please review this in details before you really get into this project

BIll of Material 

Material
Specification
Qty
Required For
Source / Where to buy
Glass Mirror
1mX1m
1
Angle Iron
25×3
Local Steel dealers for home construction work
Iron Tube (square)
1”x1”
Welding Rod
Local hardware or welding equipment shop
Pillow Bearings
04
Local hardware shop or better still find a shops dealing in
Pipe
0/5m

2m
2pc

1pc
Local sanitary / plumbing shop
Plywood
01
Bearing
01
Nuts and bolts
08
T Joint
½”
01
Local sanitary / plumbing shop
Heavy Metal Hinges
Hex Nuts
Turning rod
Stepper Motor
5V, ..
01
Adrunido MCU
Uno or ..
01
Power Adaptor
5V 3Amp
Aluminium Pipe
Coupling for
PCB
PCB Connector
Connector
02
To stepper
Micro switch
Bolts
08
Plastic enclosure
01
Arduino
Plastic enc
02
Motor
Silicone sealant
RTC clock for Arduino
Motor Coupling
Grip Nuts

 

  1. Mechanical components

    1. Mirror assembly
    2. Vertical mount
    3. Horizontal mount

 

Aim – Rotate a 1mX1m mirror around both the horizontal and vertical axis

List of material

 

Material
Specification
Qty
Source / Where to buy
Glass Mirror
1mX1m
1
Angle Iron
25×3
Local Steel dealers for home construction work
Welding Rod
Local hardware or welding equipment shop
Pillow Bearings
04
Local hardware shop or better still find a shops dealing in
Pipe
0/5m

2m
2pc

1pc
Local sanitary / plumbing shop
Plywood
01
Bearing
01
Nuts and bolts
08
T Joint
½”
01
Local sanitary / plumbing shop

 

List of tools

 

Tool
Specification
Why is it needed
Where to buy
C Clamp
Mulitple size
Corner Clamp
Adjustable Spanner
Welding Helmet
Protect your eyes from the welding
Welding Gloves
Ear Muffs
Pwer Drills
Drill Bits – Stell
Drill Bits – Masonry
Levelling Device

 

 

List of special equipment (not in normal home workshops)

  1. Chop Saw – you could use a Angle grinder with a cutting wheel, but believe me getting a chop saw makes the whole thing so much simpler
  2. Angle Grinder. Initially i tried to get a mitre saw, but those were just too expensive.
  3. Welding Machine – DC type is much better
  4. Jig saw
  5. Welding Table
  6. Vertical Drill
  7. Compass

 

And off course your desktop / laptop with arduino or .. installed..

 To be continued ….

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